November 13th, 2017

// Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction Hosts Canada’s Largest National Conference on Prevention, Harm Reduction, Treatment and Recovery

Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction Hosts Canada's Largest National Conference on Prevention, Harm Reduction, Treatment and Recovery

CALGARY, Nov. 13, 2017 /CNW/ - Today marks the start of the 7th Issues of Substance (IOS) conference, hosted by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction. IOS is Canada's only national conference to bring together addiction workers, healthcare professionals, researchers, policy makers, knowledge brokers and those with lived and living experience from across the country to address the harms of substance use and addiction.

The theme for the conference is Addiction Matters and the presentations, workshops and keynote panels scheduled over the three-days of the conference were carefully chosen to reflect the latest research, innovative ideas and urgent issues in the substance use and addiction fields.

"Addiction and problematic substance use touches us all," said CCSA Chief Executive Officer, Rita Notarandrea. "This conference brings together representatives of a fragmented, but passionate system of services and supports dedicated to helping the six million Canadians — our mothers and sisters, fathers and brothers, neighbours and friends — touched by this health disorder."

This year, a sold-out audience of 480 conference attendees will discuss emerging issues, review the latest evidence on substance use and addiction, learn from esteemed experts about what is working and identify key areas that require improvement.

Presentations and workshops will focus on the harmful use of prescription drugs and the spike in fatal overdoses from the opioid fentanyl, characterized as a death epidemic. Additional sessions will explore the changing cannabis landscape, as well as other critical issues such as binge drinking on campuses and driving under the influence of alcohol and other drugs. Keynote presentations and panels are scheduled for each day of the conference and will feature high-profile, subject-matter experts who are ready to discuss key issues including the opioid crisis and alcohol (see schedule on the following page).

We are very pleased to welcome the federal Minister of Health, the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, and Alberta's Associate Minister of Health, the Honourable Brandy Payne, to our conference this year. Associate Minister Payne will deliver remarks on the first day of the conference. Minister Petitpas Taylor will deliver closing remarks on the last day of the conference.

"I am pleased to be a part of this conference and encouraged to join stakeholders in discussing this important issue," said Minister Petitpas Taylor. "Addressing substance use disorder requires collaboration by all levels of government, along with researchers, health experts and frontline workers, and, perhaps most importantly, those with lived and living experience. I commend all of you for your dedication to this cause, and reaffirm our government's commitment to taking action to reduce the harms associated with substance use disorder."

"Taking action to address the opioid crisis is a key priority for our government," said Associate Minister Payne. "Working with our partners in prevention, treatment, harm reduction and recovery is essential in supporting Albertans living with substance use and their loved ones. I commend CCSA for organizing this conference and bringing together a diverse group of individuals and organizations to support greater knowledge and open conversation on ways we can work together to address substance use."

This year IOS coincides with National Addictions Awareness Week, for which CCSA is putting the spotlight on the stigma surrounding substance use and addiction — more specifically, on how stigmatizing language can perpetuate harmful stereotypes and act as a barrier to those seeking help and sustaining recovery. More information is available at

CCSA would like to acknowledge and thank the IOS conference Gold Sponsor, Éduc'alcool, as well the Canadian Institute for Health Information, the Canadian Institute of Health Research, the Mental Health Commission of Canada, the Canadian Executive Council on Addictions, Alberta Innovates and the Palix Foundation whose contributions made this event possible.

The conference is being held at the Hyatt Regency Calgary, 700 Centre Street S, Calgary, Alberta, from November 13–15. A number of report and project releases have been planned throughout the conference. Please see the schedule on the following page for further details.

Learn more about IOS 2017 or view the program and abstracts at

Media are invited to attend; please see the accompanying schedule. Onsite, accredited media are to identify themselves at the registration desk to receive their media pass, which must be visible at all times. Media are encouraged to RSVP in advance or pre-arrange interviews by emailing to

Conference Events Open to Media

Date Session Title and Speakers Time (MST)
Mon., Nov. 13 Opening Remarks and Welcome

Rita Notarandrea, CEO, Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA)

Michael Prospero, Board Member, Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction

Honourable Associate Minister of Health, Brandy Payne, Government of Alberta

9:00 a.m.
Mon., Nov. 13 Keynote Address: Alberta Family Wellness Initiative: Can One Story Change Everything to Improve Health and Well-being Outcomes?

Presented by Nancy Mannix, Palix Foundation

10:00 a.m.
Mon., Nov. 13 iPoliticsLIVE Panel: Good Health as We Age: Perspectives on Substance Use and Aging


Rita Notarandrea, CEO, CCSA

Franco Vaccarino, CCSA's Scientific Advisory Council, University of Guelph

Alastair Flint, University of Toronto

Tony George, CCSA's Scientific Advisory Council, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, University of Toronto

2:45 p.m.
Tues., Nov. 14 Keynote Panel: Coming to Grips with the Opioid Crisis


Moderator: Jane Buxton, BC Centre for Disease Control



Dr. Norman Buckley, McMaster University

Dr. Nicholas Etches, Alberta Health Services

Dr. David Juurlink, Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, University of Toronto

Donna May, mumsDU

10:00 a.m.
Tues., Nov. 14 Public Release of the National Alcohol Strategy Monitoring Project: A Status Report with Dr. Amy Porath, CCSA 10:30—
10:35 a.m.
Wed., Nov. 15 Addressing the Opioid Crisis: Lessons Learned from the United States — Presented with support from the United States Embassy


Moderator: Peter Selby, First Do No Harm Co-chair, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health



Dr. Jane Maxwell, University of Texas at Austin

Dr. Robin Pollini, Department of Behavioral Medicine and Psychiatry, West Virginia University School of Medicine

Kelly J. Clark, American Society of Addiction Medicine

10:00 a.m.
Wed., Nov. 15 Keynote Panel: Happy Hour: Promoting a Culture of Moderation


Moderator: Ann Dowsett Johnston, Author



Tim Stockwell, Centre for Addictions Research of BC

Hubert Sacy, Éduc'alcool

Beth Martin, Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation

10:30 a.m.—
11:45 a.m.
Wed., Nov. 15 Closing Remarks


Includes public release of the Joint Statement of Action: A Year in Review report

Rita Notarandrea, CEO, CCSA

Honourable Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health

11:45 a.m.—
12:15 p.m.


CCSA was created by Parliament to provide national leadership to address substance use in Canada. A trusted counsel, we provide national guidance to decision makers by harnessing the power of research, curating knowledge and bringing together diverse perspectives.
CCSA activities and products are made possible through a financial contribution from Health Canada. The views of CCSA do not necessarily represent the views of the Government of Canada.


SOURCE Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction


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